The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. (2022, February 5). Fred Harvey. Retrieved December 13, 2022, from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Fred-Harvey
Fred Harvey Branding the Southwest. Fred Harvey: Branding the southwest - food. (n.d.). Retrieved December 13, 2022, from
Home. Fred Harvey History. (2022, November 2). Retrieved December 13, 2022, from https://fredharvey.info/
Kansas Historical Society. (2016, June). Harvey House Restaurants. Retrieved December 13, 2022, from https://www.kshs.org/kansapedia/harvey-house-restaurants/16712
Kansas Historical Society. (2019). Fred Harvey. Retrieved December 13, 2022, from https://www.kshs.org/kansapedia/fred-harvey/15507
Warner, E. (2012, July 19). Fred Harvey: The man who civilized the west - wheels museum. Fred Harvey: The Man Who Civilized the West. Retrieved December 13, 2022, from http://wheelsmuseum.org/?page_id=802
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Travel back in time with me to the late 1800s. Your train is delayed and what was previously a short trip now leaves you traveling through many meal times. You search for food and find that the only offered items are bitter coffee, greasy food, and someone else's leftovers.
Your choices are simple. You either eat the unappealing and unpalatable food available to you at your current location or you go hungry and wait until you arrive at the next depot and seek out other unappealing food. This is the conundrum that faced many who used train transport in the late 1800s. The railroad was booming, yet the services offered to those who traveled by rail were not. Fred Harvey is an inspiration because he had a dream that he never lost sight of, and the achievement of his dream made travel safer, healthier, and more convenient. This was his contribution to the United States' westward expansion.
Fred Harvey departed from London for the United States in 1850 with a dream of opening a restaurant business. Arriving in New York, he became a waiter and bounced from restaurant to restaurant, traveling to New Orleans and ending up in St. Louis. There, he married his wife and opened a dining hall with a partner. However, the Civil War divided his partnership and forced him to shut down the dining hall, but Harvey did not let this stop him. He started to work with the postal service on the railroad. This work exposed Harvey to the revolting conditions that travelers faced every day, prompting him to find a solution and making his restaurant dreams come true.
Harvey's dream revolutionized railroad food and nutrition and married convenient food to the increasing convenience of rail travel. He first pitched his idea to Burlington Railroad Company first and then to the Santa Fe Railway. In 1876, Harvey opened a dining room in the Santa Fe Topeka depot. This restaurant - with imported linens, crystal and silver to decorate the tables, and robust aspirations - was elevated above the rest. Within seven years, Fred Harvey managed 17 restaurants called the "Harvey Houses" and was redefining railway food.
For the first seven years of Harvey Houses, only male wait staff were employed, but after a heated argument descended into a physical struggle, one Harvey House manager fired his entire wait staff and hired only young ladies. These girls became known as the "Harvey Girls," and soon other establishments were following their lead. The service these young ladies provided, combined with the prestigious and nutritious food, propelled Harvey Houses into an ever-expanding empire.
Fred Harvey cared both about the nutrition of his food and improving the travel experience of those who ate it. As someone who is genuinely interested in nutrition this speaks to me. He made food that many people would not have access to on a normal day, let alone
while traveling where access to good, healthy food was limited. When mealtimes get disrupted and easier to access foods are less nourishing, people generally do not eat as healthy, but Fred Harvey placed affordable and healthy food in train depots that allowed for those traveling to fill their stomachs with food that would keep them full.
Fred Harvey also implemented one of the first wide spread fast food systems in the nation. He oversaw a large group of Harvey Houses and kept them uniform with each other. This was hard in a time of limited travel and communication means. Fred Harvey helped enable the growth and expansion needed for the United States to become the country that it is today. By making it so travelers had easy access to safe and nutritious food, he equipped the railway to continue to boom. With the rail travel and transport growing and settlements forming around railroad depots, resources that were previously unattainable because they were not near rivers and other waterways became attainable.
Fred Harvey saw a problem, fixed it, and helped outfit the industrialization of the nation with ever expanding railroads needed to transport resources. Fred Harvey came to the United States with a dream of opening a restaurant. He formed many partnerships, built a business, and then watched it fall apart, yet he never lost sight of his dream. When he saw a problem in the railroad industry he not only came up with a solution, he came up with one that let him achieve his dream. Through the achievement of his dreams he helped others and enabled the formation of transcontinental transport that firmly cemented the United States as a growing powerhouse.
Today access to safe, quickly served food allows the people of the United States to be in a constant state of motion using the transportation methods that were conceived from the minds of people who wanted to go faster and move more. People like Fred Harvey made it so they had access to materials needed to make their aspirations a reality. Without food available to let the
railway expand, resources would not be available to those in need of them.
While many people grace the halls of the Kansas Hall of Fame, Fred Harvey's story sticks out above the rest. Fred Harvey came to the United States with very little, and he made a name for himself. He saw a problem and he not only fixed it, but he opened a doorway to easily
accessible and nutritious food for those traveling. He was the first to serve food quickly, in large quantities, while still retaining quality. Starting a chain of events that helped the United States industrialize and become the nation that it is now.
Alexandrea Howell email@example.com Chandra Fairley
firstname.lastname@example.org Leavenworth Senior High School